Cop chases on the up

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Queenstown cops have given chase to 25 dodgy drivers who failed to stop for the red and blues in the past couple of years.

The figures, released to Mountain Scene by police, follow a string of chases in the resort in recent months.

Queenstown road policing boss senior sergeant Glenn Wilkinson doesn’t believe the resort’s got a problem with fleeing drivers – but says when cops are put in those situations, they have to think fast.

“It is stressful, it’s a fast-changing situation.”

The stats show there were seven failures to stop in the 2017/18 year, eight the year before, and 10 in 2015/16.

They also show a steady rise since 2013/14, when there were just three offences recorded.

They don’t include recent high-profile incidents such as the man who allegedly led police on a chase before the car he was driving was damaged by road spikes, leading to him holing himself up in the Frankton BP loos last month.

A couple of weeks later, a man drove a Nissan Terrano through a playground, down some steps and across a field while being pursued by police through Queenstown and Frankton.

Wilkinson says staff involved in chases have to do continuous threat assessments, as well as keeping other staff up-to-date with what’s happening.

“It can just happen out of the blue.”

The stats also show an increase in failures to stop nationally, from 1738 in 2013/14 to 2906 in the past year.

Police pursuits were thrown into the spotlight earlier this year when eight people, including three teenagers, died in chases in just two months.

daisy.hudson@scene.co.nz